Can you forgive a lover that breaks the agreement you’ve made jointly regarding cheating? Can the wedding survive in a healthy and balanced way? That depends.
The 1st thing you really need to think about is what kind of affair it was. Let’s bluntly break it down.
1 - If it was an “Oops, sex happens” thing, I believe this is the simplest to forgive. I’m not saying it’s OK, normal, or acceptable on any level. I’m not even saying I would get rid of it. But if anyone were to forgive any kind of cheating, I can comprehend this one the most.
In this scenario, someone’s head and heart can still belong to you. The flesh was weak. Stupid. Drunk. An opportunist. In a very common way, I can understand forgiving a mistake. ‘Still not saying I would, but I can understand.
2 - If it were the romance I defined in the second example, that’s much more than “a slip-up.” It’s filled with meaning deception. An affair somebody has with a person online, or a coworker, or some situation where sex doesn’t happen but there is closeness and sharing of feelings and thoughts, is a much more intense thing. The idea that your partner spent time with this person, thinking about them, preparing to be with them, having discussions and secrets, laughing and crying… to me this is much more essential than one drunk night where somebody’s pants fell off.
Another point to be made about this, is that there is no way in hell your partner didn’t know they were splitting your heart. Whatever they say, whatever they declare, they had to know it was incorrect or they wouldn’t have kept it top secret. You would have been involved in those long discussions or chats; you would have been welcomed to those conferences, if there really was practically nothing to hide.
This is not only a disloyalty of your vows and guarantees; it is blatant disrespect to you as an individual. They cheated with their head and their heart. To many people, me involved, this is much worse than cheating while making love.
3 - The 3rd scenario I described above is the full fledged Affair. The whole big enchilada. Filled with meaning planned meetings, sex and intimacy, closeness and conversation… an Affair that goes on over a period of time. The greatest betrayal of almost everything that should mean anything to your partner.
I believe the better question is why the hell would you? Why would you even think about getting back somebody that is capable of lying to your face over and over and over again? Why would you want to be with somebody whose guarantee indicates nothing?
If this is where you are, you actually require asking yourself what the real purpose is for you to even amuse staying married to this person.
If your purpose is “for the children” please think again. Do you actually want to teach your children that unfaithfulness is OK, or that lying down to people you imagines to love is OK? You aren’t displaying your kids what it is to forgive; you are only showing your kids what it is to be a doormat.
Any individual who matured up as a child in a household that “stayed jointly for the kids” will tell you what I’m stating. I promise – any one of them will back me up. Many guides have been written on this subject, on the guilt those kids feel when they grow up for the mom’s or dad’s being unpleasant, and on the training they take away from living like that. It’s the dumbest reason in the world to stay jointly.
If your purpose to want to work it out is that you still love this person, think about what self regard means. Get a little therapy. Take a little time. Think about how this individual treated you by lying and cheating. Love is hard, and most of us at one time or a different has loved the wrong person. But investing your life with an individual that clearly does not love you back is a terrible thing to do to yourself. It’s a terrible lesson for your children. It’s soul sickening.
Let’s create this clear: You are entitled to be loved. This person does not love you. No matter what they’ve said out of shame or fear, they do not love you.